Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Two steps forward, one step back

So, for whatever reason lately, as in the past day or two, I've been in a funk.  I was practically ecstatic about the progress the horses were making in their socialization, until last night.  We've had Eagle for 1 month, and last night was the first time I really had to get after him.  He was very aggressive to Harley and bit him in the butt when Harley was already walking away from him.  That makes me so damned mad!  Harley rarely does anything to provoke someone's anger, but he's always the first one to feel the brunt of their aggressions.  Maybe it's because he's just so vulnerable to every single one of them, but it just causes me to see red.  I absolutely will not tolerate aggression towards Harley, but especially when it's unwarranted. 

The horses lately have been ravenous.  All of our pasture grass is dead and brown.  It resembles a scotch pad, except it's not green.  The only graze is what they can get in the form of tree leaves.  Our cool weather grasses are long gone and we haven't had any rain since the end of June, I think.  So easy for me to lose track of time these days.  Anyway, I was getting a bale of hay and everybody knew it.  Ladde, Shad and Kadie were waiting in the front pasture where I disperse the piles...they know the routine.  Eagle was nickering at me over the gate, watching me come down the barn aisle with the hay.  And Harley, as usual, was just coming up towards the others wanting to bypass Eagle and head up to the front to wait with the others.  Eagle did not like the idea of Harley walking past him, and gave him a pinned ears look in warning.  Harley however, walked on, absolutely clueless.  So Eagle lunged forward, scaring Harley into a retreat.  Bewildered and afraid, he attempted to circle around and pass Eagle from behind.  Eagle was having none of it, and lunged at Harley, causing him to spin around in fright and head away from the comfort of his herdmates, and just for good measure, Eagle bit Harley in the butt while he was retreating and left a nasty red toothmark in his butt.  I lunged forward towards Eagle, bellowing my rage.  Eagle did one of those drop and spread routines with a wide-eyed look, but held his ground.  Harley, very cautiously proceeded forward between Eagle and me and trotted very quickly up towards the feeding pasture.  My body language screamed volumnes to Eagle, who apparently read me like a book, because he didn't move a muscle until I had closed the gate trapping him in the corral alone.  I dispersed the hay piles to all the horses and then came back and let Eagle come into the herd and eat.  I'm not sure this was the best way to handle the situation, but it's what I did.  I will not tolerate aggression towards Harley in any form, and I will not tolerate an aggressive horse at feeding time.  Period.  I think Eagle got the memo because he was very quiet and contrite throughout the remainder of the evening. 

However, the entire situation was very upsetting to me.  They had made such wonderful progress, and I had really hoped that Harley had found a friend and possibly even a protector.  From now on, I will disperse the hay to everyone but Eagle, and then let him rejoin his herdmates.  Maybe I was expecting too much, too soon.  Then again, maybe the horses were just overly hungry.  Whatever the reason, I surely hope the lesson remains intact with Eagle.  Being with the herd is a privilege, and one that can be taken away with unsavory behavior. 

On another topic, I am relieved that our upper 90's and even some triple digit temperatures have dropped significantly over the last couple of days.  This morning was cool, overcast and we even experienced a light drizzle for an hour or so.  It's quite refreshing and I'm welcoming it with open arms.  I wore jeans today for the first time in months.  While it's been so overly hot, I've not gotten very much accomplished, inside or outside.  When that happens, I become agitated and quite cranky.  I start to look around and see everything that needs to be done, and yet don't have the energy to do anything at all.  I'm most definitely not ready for winter, but find myself looking forward to the refreshingly brisk mornings of fall, the changing of the seasons and looking forward to all the outside activities that I enjoy so much.  Just hoping that we have a long, dry fall...not an early rainy season.  Please Lord?

I'm considering finding someone who will come to our house and work with Eagle several times a week.  Since I work full-time I really don't have the time, or the daylight hours to accomplish much myself.  Eagle really seems to be a lovely horse, but he knows absolutely nothing.  It's like having an 11 year old baby, but there's a stubborn streak that most young horses don't have.  I don't want to rush his education, and find myself feeling more impatience with him than I want to have.  I'm just unsure of where to begin.  I know he wants to please, and my instincts tell me that he will make a remarkable trail horse.  I just want to be patient, understanding, but firm with him.  The challenge lies in finding someone in whom I can place my trust, and bring him along in the way I want him educated.  I don't want him rushed, and I don't want him roughly handled in any way.  I want someone who's quietly confident and very patient.  I believe that the slower you go, the quicker you'll get there...I've seen it proven too many times not to believe it. 

So many projects and so little time...the story of my life.

Blessings all,
Lorie @ Cingspots

1 comment:

fernvalley01 said...

Lori, I think you handled the situation just right , and may not need to take it further. You established to Eagle that Harley is under your protection, and you are the dominant herd member , you might wnat to remind hiim now ans then , or itf he is as smart as he seems...
Often here all I have to do is grow, a loud "Here" from a fair distance and all pissing about sstops